Who Pays When the Last Helicopter Leaves?

News Abroad

Ms. Klinghoffer is senior associate scholar at the Political Science department at Rutgers University, Camden, and the author of Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East. She is also an HNN blogger. Click here for her blog.

Vietnam, Hassan Abbasi has a dream -- a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the"fleeing Americans," forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by"the Army of Muhammad." Presented by his friends as"The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," Mr. Abbasi is"professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration.

Thus begins Amir Taheri's article entitled" The Last Helicopter." The new strategy adopted by the Middle Eastern powers that be is to wait out the presidency of George W. Bush in the expectation that his successor will follow the examples of his predecessors, i.e., pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan just the way the US did from Vietnam, Iran, Lebanon and Somalia. The real question is who will lose the most when that last helicopter leaves? If the history is our guide, it would not be the US but those countries left behind. Future American presidents may figure out a different way to fight and win the war on terror just as they figured out a different way to fight and win the Cold War. But the same cannot be said about the places left behind. Each one of them paid an enormous price which is further magnified by comparing them to countries which enjoyed the benefits of decades of American presence.

Let us start with South Vietnam. The war-torn country not only did not enjoy years of American economic largess enjoyed by South Korea but it effectively emerged as a colony of North Vietnam. More importantly, millions of Vietnamese became refugees who came to be known as the boat people because they fled the Communist regime in small boats. In addition, approximately 200,000 South Vietnamese accused of supporting the previous regime were placed in "reeducation camps" of various degrees of severity. Their plight eventually attracted the attention of an honest leftists like Joan Baez. Last, though certainly not least, the subsequent Communist take over of Cambodia resulted in a genocide which claimed the lives of over a million people -- 20% of that country's population.

The fate of Iran was not much better. Here, too, there was a mass exodus of the country's best and brightest. Human rights, which were far from satisfactory under the Shah, deteriorated further. Especially hurt were women and religious minorities such as the Baha'i. But nothing disfigured the country more than the cost in life and treasure of the eight year Iran-Iraq war. At least 300,000 Iranians died in that war and another half a million were wounded. The same can be said about the 160,000 to 240,000 Iraqi dead and 375,000 Iraqi wounded. It was a war which could not have occurred had Iran continued to enjoy the American security umbrella.

Lebanon did not fare much better. Indeed, the American withdrawal ushered in an intensification of its already raging civil war and the complete collapse of the Lebanese army. The following year-and-a-half civil war killed approximately 44,000 Lebanese and wounded 180,000. Warlords, terrorists, private militias and the brutal Syrian army ruled the country. Again, the best and the brightest left and the once thriving city of Beirut was reduced to rubble and divided into Muslim and Christian sectors. If Lebanon will finally recover, it will be because the US will help her do so.

The last place the helicopters left was, of course, Somalia. President George H. Bush sent in the marines to alleviate famine. They did. Then, they tried to fix the governance problem that caused the famine in the first place. But when Osama bin Laden and his Somali warlord brought the Blackhawks down, Clinton left. The result has been chaos, growth of piracy and, now once again, famine. Just read the headlines which a Google news search of Somalia brings up.

As stunning as the aforementioned losses are, they are greatly magnified by the flowering of European and Asian regions which did not reject the American security umbrella. Indeed, there is only one way to explain the persistent optimism of the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq regardless of the enormous hardships and dangers they face daily. They instinctively understand what ideologues such as Hassan Abbasi refuse to acknowledge. The worse thing that can happen to a country is to have the last American helicopter take off. The best thing that can happen to a country is to have Americans consider its well being as its own affair. So, yes, it is possible to make Americans leave. Indeed, it is easy. Both France and the Philippines asked them to leave and they did in a timely and orderly fashion. But the price of evicting them in an untimely and violent fashion is horrendous, not as much to Americans as to the country the last helicopter leaves behind.

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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

In a way Klinghoffer is right.

After the, inevitable, departure of the last invader (hanging from the skids of the last helicopter?) conditions will be very difficult in the liberated country.

With so much destruction to clean up and rebuild, so many collaborators to try ,punish and replace , so many quislings gangs to disband, investigate and punish , so many profiteers to clean up, so many foreign agents to arrest and deport, so many ex inmates from Abu Ghraib, and equivalent, to treat and rehabilitate etc, etc, etc...things will be very very difficult indeed.
No doubt about that!
Cleaning up and rebuilding a country and healing a society that was subjected to the onslaught of the infernal American war machine and the Abu Ghraib mode of governance is NOT an easy task!
What does that leave us with?
-Demand from the invader that he stays?
-Fight him if he insists on leaving?
-Appeal to the UN that the invader stays and officially colonizes the country?
It all goes to prove one, and only one, thing: the USA is extremely competent and proficient at destroying a country and maiming a society!
No doubt about that either!
That should be reward enough for Professor Klinghoffer!
What more does she want?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr. Keuter
Unfortunately I have to agree with you as far as IRAQ is concerned.
As to the whole Middle East region it will be Iran and Israel; an eventual entente, and division of spoils, between the two is not unthinkable.
And the losers?
America and the Arabs.

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Iran is far from being messed up; the last three years of American occupation have seen Iran go into and establish itself as an equal, if not superior factor, to the USA in determining the future of Iraq and the Gulf!
It will not be "helping out the Israelis" it would be division of spoils for when it, and if, it happens!

The Contra affair established the fact that was the prime mover behind the Iraq/Iran war (1980-1988);that both Iran and Israel covet Arab oil and compete for regional predominance .
In fairness that was Khomeini/Rafsanjani; Ahmedinejad has not yet conclusively established his true identity as an Islamist anti Zionist and anti imperialist or as a Persian nationalist!

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

What about this plan, Patrick?

After Cheney & Co are impeached, removed from office and convicted, for their treason and other high crimes, sentence them to permanent expatriation to Baghdad for life. Let the chickenhearted bulls live out their days amidst the shards of china produced by their corrupt recklessness.

Okay, the requisite spinal implants needed in Congress for any of the above to happen are about as likely as rose-petal hurling Iraqis becoming happy Halliburton customers gladly and peacefully trading in eons-worth of their accumulated fossil fuel natural capital in order to sponsor Regime Change by Crooks and Incompetents from Texas supported by the Exploitable Wing of the New Orleans National Guard.

Nonetheless, to "move forward" don't you need an end goal?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Does your "understanding of the U.S. economy" by chance include a knowledge of
-national debt ?
-debt service ratios ?
-exponential growth ?
-inflation expectations ?
-real interest rates ?
If so, then pray proceed to recalibrate your asinine worship of the Cheney administration's colossal borrowing binge and waste of taxpayers' money. Otherwise ("Read my lips"): Your grandchildren will curse you.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Good question indeed. And a quite absurd answer. Worthy of HNN's most prolific practitioner of the Big Lie. By no stretch did the USSR expenditure on Vietnam approach even a miniscule fraction of what we Americans poured down that metaphorical rat hole.

The better, but still imperfect, comparision would be with the Soviet's Vietnam, Afghanistan.

That is question on which reasonable men might differ, but I would suggest that Soviets screwed up in Afghanistan rather less disastrously than we did in Vietnam, and certainly the Kremlin'sinvestment in Vietnam did more for them more than America's investment in Bin Laden & Co did for America.

Incompetency in American History. The hot potato Rove-dupes like Heuisler dare not touch.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


What a huge load of steaming stinking irrelevant bull I had to wade through to get to your answer to my prior post:

"The national debt today is approximately the same percent of GDP as it was at the same point in Clinton’s presidency"

"Inflation is lower than in Clinton’s presidency"

Have you got sources to back up either of these improbable claims? (A webpage with a title such as "how to lie with statistics" is not what I mean here by a "source").

I am well acquainted with Laffler's napkin and see no reason to revisit the pronouncement of Daddy Bush about it, 26 years ago: "voodoo economics." Or as an old-school economist might have said: "no free lunch."

The economic rationale for higher taxes was expressed already by your worshipee Junior Fratboy Bush: "America is addicted to oil."

Now, we can fork over big bucks to Bin Laden & Co as the oil price skyrockets, and try to cure our addiction that way, or we can tax these woefully underpriced and colossally wasted non-renewable resources and keep the money in America. Econ 101 will not guide you regarding making that choice. For that you need common sense. A magazine known as Economist (which very very rarely endorses Democrats in American political campaigns, incidentally) has been making that common sense argument for decades. Economically ignorant Americans don't get it. Oil production is peaking and we are on the road to getting royally screwed sooner rather than later.

P.S. You are as brain-dead as ever on the question of "chickenhawks". You still cannot seem to grasp that "chickens" and "chickenhawks" are not identical.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Without in anyway endorsing the ahistorical Rambo Myth on Vietnam, I am going to agree with Bill Heuisler, on one point. If America had kept, say 200,000 troops in South Vietnam after 1973, Saigon would not have collapsed two years later like a pack of soggy cards. Indeed, it probably could have stayed independent of the North ever since IF we had kept the troops there ever since. Instead of an oppresive and corrupt communist regime there, we could have a corrupt and oppressive Non-communist regime. Would the difference have been worth huge amounts of American blood, treasure, and military power? Was it ever? If one's idea of America's ultimate purpose is to put as many young men as possible into uniform and march them off to wars (real or pretend) which serve or do not protect America, then maybe it was. The more our national security and interational influence is squandared on colossal blunders like Vietnam in the 1960s or Iraq today, the more dangerous the world becomes, and the more we need a "few good men" (per second) to volunteer to become cannon fodder for blundering politicians.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. B.,

You are good at hurling BS, and not bad and cutting and pasting from propaganda websites. Your reading skills lag.

1. Your lists of Democrats contain a mixture of chickens and chickenhawks.
How many times do I have to repeat myself before it registers in your dense Cheney-worshipping deluded mind?
A chickenhawk is a chicken when it comes to personally fighting in wars, and a hawk when it comes to sending others off to die for him. A pure chicken, of which there are surely more Democrat leaders than leading Republicans, is not the same as a chickenhawk where the Republicans are in the lead by a wide margin.

If you are a vegan, than pardon my metaphors, but my beef is with HYPOCRITES, including chickenhawks, not with people who join the military nor with people who don't.

Please read this, this time. I am getting tired of repeating myself, over and over, while you try to get me to join your silly pissing contests.

2. You originally said

"The national debt today is approximately the same percent of GDP as it was at the same point in Clinton’s presidency" but you then made the sophmoric partisan shoveler error of failing to remember what you
wrote. Your actual figures on Debt to GNP compare the 3RD year of Clinton with the 4TH year of Bush. You have basically uncovered the hardly startling fact that Clinton reduced the debt ratio by so much than even Bush's fiscal incompetency has not totally reversed it yet. A similar, if not exactly so, story applies to inflation. It is your grandchildren who will curse you more than your younger siblings.

Econ 101 or maybe 102 might also tell you about cyclical effects. The economy improved under Bush because it hit a cyclical low at the beginning of his first term, and was more or less bound to rebound thereafter.

For normative versus positive, try Econ 103, more or less. Before enrolling though, I am afraid some major deprogramming is needed. You are so biased and brainwashed into thinking of political debate as a some kind of sport that it warps your thought processes. Even in sports, however, it used to be said (before Limbaugh etc. raped conservativism) that "how you played the game" was more important than winning. Obviously not, for you and those who have been duping you.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Make that 4th year of Clinton and 5th of Bush. But, trends are more important than the point in time comparisons anyway. Laffler's Curve is basically a thought-experiment-joke that has been picked upon by Jerkrepublican polemicists and made in to some great Hocus Pocus icon of insight because it turns out to be a convenient way to obscure History. Basically, Reagan ran up huge fiscally irresponsible debts, Clinton paid them down slightly, and BushII is running them up again and with far less justification than Reagan. Reagan's admin really did help boost the economy (although most of the effect was cyclicality and Volcker's Fed) and his military spending helped (in minor but non-negligible way) to defeat a real foe (the USSR). The Frat Boy, in great contrast, is helping enemies and losing friends for America world wide AND bankrupting our fiscal future. But don't let that disturb your blind worship.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Your reading and logic difficulties compound, Broce.

Of course, being a diehard propagandizing worshipper of one bunch of soundrels, and an obsessed if not always accurate denouncer of a second bunch of scoundrels, "fairness" and "objectivity" are not high on your vocabulary list.

Nevertheless, if and when you come to your senses, realize how duped you have been, and want to (for example) FAIRLY compare Frat Boy and Slick Willie, then what you need to do is a "before and after" on both of them.

Exhibit 1:

I don't suppose you have experience with kids, but here is a parenting/mentoring suggestion. If one child A plays in a messy room and leaves it cleaner than he when found it and Child B later plays in the same room and it ends up being much messier than when he came into it, good child-rearing does not consist of berating child A and praising child B.

Now re sloppiness, exhibit 2:

In your list of dastardly Democrats in the comment "Econ 101 AND draft dodging (#86042)" above, you included

Patrick Leahy
Howard Dean
Teddy Kennedy
Carl Levin

Don't know where that list came from 'cause you didn't say, but I doubt it was from the OMB website.

NOW (in the comment just above) you say you are going to "post the military action...that each of the Democrats I listed voted for in the past"

Never mind "each", just try those four. Hint: none of them voted to authorize Frat Boy and Chickenhawk Cheney's treasonous and phony war in Iraq when the blank check for it was approved in October, 2002.

Let's repeat the bottom line here for any suffering reader confused by your Rove-programmed shell games: Democrats are cowards and hypocrites, Republicans are hypocrites and cowards, in THAT order of incidence.

I don't know what personal hang-ups make you so hateful of Tweedledee and so worshipful of Tweedledumb, but they certainly seem to have little to do with history, knowledge of basic economics, common sense, or truthfulness.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Interesting movies, Patrick. Snowboarding is not the safest sport around, but I never heard of a collapsed lung injury from it. On the other hand, those fancy lifts are not solar-powered, I don't think. How about a cross-country recruiting station next to the snow-board enlistment booth?

Had to cut off the China clip. Too long and too full of Who-Flung-Dung (though very funny). Being ahead in numbers of hungry mouths or squalid housing units does not impress, and the widget assemblers are on the same unsustainable oil-addiction kick as America's couch potatoes. China was top dog for most of History until (well, opinions vary, but let's say somewhere around 1400-1850). That does not prove jack about the future, especially when the future does not look too rosy for anybody these days.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Broce, you are becoming rather tiresome.

You are indeed technically correct about Leahy, Kennedy, or Levin supporting the use of military force against the Taliban, which makes them minor chickenhawks. Iraq and Afghanistan are night and day (or treason versus patriotism) but the inconsistency of not being in combat but committing others holds.

You are, however, flat wrong to try to "pigeonhole" me in the "neat little category" of chickenhawk. I am a public citizen, not a government official or member of Congress. I do not vote on authorizations of force or declarations of war. My glorious career doing or not doing cocaine in Texas while in uniform or not uniform is IRRELEVANT. For about the F-ing 20th time, get that through your cement-filled brain!

You kindergarten-style attempt to reverse my child-rearing analogy gets it utterly backwards. For the third time, here, Clinton's policies, whatever his other faults, reduced the federal debt burden on YOUR grandchildren (if you ever have any). Frat Boy is increasing it. Your apple and oranges year by year comparison just shows how pigheaded you are and how your position is an utter travesty of conservatism. You need to show the ratio in 2000, 2001, and 2002 when the presidency changed if you want a complete picture rather than just a kneejerk bit of illogic.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Pete, I know a little of you died to make that grudging admission, so I really appreciate it."

Poor dying Broce.

I doubt that a first-class donkey-brained jerk like you truly "appreciates" anything except hearing your own echo of your Rovian brainwashers, but rest assured that your "appreciation" is any event groundless.

Unlike you, nothing "dies" in me when truth and accuracy are upheld. No matter how minor or irrelevant the particular truth or accuracy.

Chickenhawk, Chickenhawk, Chickenhawk.
Try, if you can to get used to that word, without a little bit of you "dying", as your programmed mind gradually awakens to the reality that, even if every Democrat since Thomas Jefferson is the Devil Incarnate, you have been most assuredly wasting your time slavishly defending the most incompetent Republican administration over the last 80 years. Worse than Nixon, Worse than Ford, Worse than Reagan, Worse than George H.W. Put that in your pipe, smoke it along with your great glorious war memories, and wallow with it in your hypocritical lack of principle.

Maybe from now on I will just call Cheney and his sidekick Frat Boy traitors, rather than incompetent, hypocrite chickenhawks. Perhaps you won't gag so pitifully on the truth that they have been recklessly following Bin Laden's script and lying to high hell about how they are trashing America's national security, its economic future, and every true principle than any genuine conservative ever believed in.

P.S. There was no "faltering economy" in 2000. Just another Rove lie recycling through your unthinking unoriginal mind. There was and is an unsustainable economy, and there was a dot-com boom and bust. And Laffler's is a cute theory which you may or may not actually understand, but which in any case doesn't hold in 1980s,'90s, and '00s America. If it did, the DEFICITS WOULDN'T KEEP GROWING after the taxes are cut.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Broce has "dismantled" nothing except his weekend.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Right on, Patrick. Multiple times so.

But, there is a difference, don't you think between recent Republicans and say, those of the 1950s,'60s, and '70s?

It may be part nostalgia, but it seems to me that Republicans I knew 20+ years ago, tended to pride themselves on being careful, principled, and correct. They were often quite wrong, in my view (then and now) but they WANTED to be correct, and considered it a point of honor to concede mistakes. They did not care for eggheads, but they were not against intelligence and common sense itself. And they placed positive value on politeness. What a colossal difference to today! Ike was quirky but not an arrogant windbag like Newt. Reagan was dumb but not wickedly deceitful like Delay, Rove, or Cheney. Goldwater was dead wrong on Vietnam, but he did go to the White House to tell Nixon it was time to become the first president in History to resign. He did not try for example, to follow what,Ted Kennedy's male appendage was up to, and what words he had parsed re Mary Jo and Chappaquiddick. GWB is quite different from his Pa in many ways. I can't imagine Old Man Bush, even in one of his cornier moments, saying something quite as banal as "with us or against us". Which, by the way, is not what the chickenhawk Goebbelses in DC since 2001 said. Their line was the far more sneakily illogical: "you're either with us or with the terrorists." The chicken manure arrogance of saying that to the Europeans who have been SUCCESSFULLY fighting terrorists for decades! Cheney and his gang of crooks willingly betrayed America by following Bin Laden's script after 9-11, and that has to be front and center of any campaign to clean up their manifold messes. The world has to know that America is capable of ridding itself of the blundering malignant con artists who have fouled its nest so flagrantly.

I don’t know any Republicans who have hung themselves in shame. But I do know some who don’t talk politics any more, and others who vote against Republican candidate because they are so often such worthless hypocrites, and stil others who have left the party in disgust.

These are people who get their news from newspapers, not Fox TV and who have an IQ above 80, i.e. they do not fit the profile of the typical pro-Bush "swing state" voter.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Historians are not always proficient at identifying cause and effect. But, most are not as recklessly slipshod as this non-historian. Here, in her umpty-umpth non-historical polemic on this website, she adheres to a standard practice of arguing backwards from a foregone conclusion: in this case that America (WHO in America is never made clear, which is what prompts inflammatory terms such as "chickenhawk" from people who get tired having their intelligence insulted time and again) needs to sacrifice maximum resources in order to intervene abroad in a minority of foreign countries selected by the author in omniscient secrecy using undisclosed criteria. This is the latest in a long string of ridiculous embarrassments for HNN, and Mr. Dresner instead of meekly submitting a dissent, should do his job as editor, and dump this wildly non-historical propagandist at once. Enough is enough. If HNN's mission statement

"...to point out bogus analogies. To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history"

is not a total farce, then a line needs to be drawn somewhere.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thought not

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

McCain and Heuisler. Both from Arizona. Both Republicans. Polar opposites in calibre, character, consistency, sense of duty, and devotion to the United States of America and to the most worthy of conservative principles.

The Republican Party of McCains that we used to know has been hijacked, browbeaten and brainwashed into becoming a Republican Party of Heuislers and their apathetic and ill-informed dupes.

No possible source of redemption appears yet on the horizon. As I have said many times on HNN (notwithstanding the Kindergarten innuendos of the preceeding post), the Democratic Party of today offers a feeble, crackling, cacophonous echo, not a lasting choice.

Maybe a better fantasy would be ship the spineless rubberstamping Congressional Democrats off to Baghdad, and incarcerate Cheney and his deceitful, treacherous fellow crooks (once impeached, removed, convicted, etc.) in Guantanamo. It is, of course, a far cry from the Hanoi Hilton, but the mere shock of a small taste of their own medicine might actually convert a few chickenhawks into men of principle and purpose.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I don't follow the logic here. Israelis seem to be intent on walling themselves in and hiding from their problems. There is considerable debate about how much stolen land and water to retain within the perimeter of the wall, but not about the wall itself. Iran is so messed up, it seems that most Iranians can't quite figure what they want, but surely helping out Israel is nowhere near any wish lists there. Not much basis for an "entente," it seems to me. The contra weapons shenanigans -which did bring these two together, sort of- were over 20 years ago.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. H.,

The fact that neither of us knows the figures for Soviet expenditures on Vietnam in the '60s and '70s, and that any such statistics are not likely to be as complete or reliable as what one might find, for example, in the U.S. National Archives, record groups 330, 507, or 535, does not mean that your fables about the subject are therefore gospel truth.

There were Soviet advisors in Vietnam, presumably not working in rice paddies to earn their keep. There were also MIGS (though whatever their going rate in 1972 roubles, it could not have exceeded the comparable outlay required for a B-52). That was about it, though.

The USSR did not have hundreds of thousands of troops stationed in Vietnam for years on end, with MPS, PXs, USO tours, and all the associated paraphenalia. Moscow did not have as many aircraft carriers in the region as Washington D.C. did. The Russkies did not waste a World War II's worth of bombs blowing up the Indochinese jungle. The USSR was undoubtedly the great gainer by America's foolish mass involvement in Vietnam, and its demise began after America finally came to its senses and pulled out of Vietnam for good. Lots of bad things then happened in that region, but whether they happened because America pulled out, or because America had been messing up the region for so long, or neither, is a topic for speculation where your fantasies are no more credible than anyone else's, and certainly have nothing to do with sources or history.

I also second Mr. Ebbit's rebuttal your attempt to deny America's prior links to the Bush family friends, the Bin Ladens.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I guess how messed up Iran depends on who you talk to from that part of the world. There is certainly plenty of tyranny, misrule, and abuse of human rights there, not to mention an unsustainable population growth. Whatever his "credentials" as an Islamist or anti-Semite, Ahmedinejad is by now well-established as a world-class demagogue out to exploit and ruin his people in order to quench his own thirst for power. Tally it up as one more opportunity recklessly squandered by the Cheney Administration in the USA. Having cried wolf on Iraq, who will believe the lying cowards now when they pretend to rattle sabers over Iran?

Still don't see any connection to the Israelis, however. Why would they want to deal with someone who says they should pack up and move to Poland?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Time for another perennial HNN favorite: educating the ill-informed.

Today we feature a little remedial 6th grade lesson on Nature versus Nurture:

Cowardice and its opposite, courage, are largely genetic traits. That is why one speaks of "guts", "cajones" and other genetically-inherited body parts when referring to courage or the lack of it.

Political party affiliation is not genetic.

For those of us who remember what we learned in 5th, 6th or 7th grade, it is nonsensical to pretend that one political Party with tens of millions of members has cowards, and another also with tens of millions of members has no cowards.

Blind partisanship is also not genetic even if it may often seem to be correlated with low intelligence.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Heuisler,

My strong, long-standing and unwavering criticism (not "contempt") is of hypocrites, not “those who haven't served.” As Mr. Ebbitt appropriately pointed out, by way of his latest comment, although both American political parties have had (and probably always will have) more than ample endowments of two-faced, misbehaving BSers, in recent times, one of the two parties has had the upper hand, exhibited a greater degree of asinine pigheaded inconsistency, possessed a greater incidence of brain-challenged sheep-like followers, and damaged our national interests and national security more thoroughly, more permanently, more flagrantly and with more reckless and unapologetic ineptitude. 'Twas not ever so, and doubtless the wheel will turn again 'ere long. At that stage, those of us here who are not tunnel-visioned, rude partisans recklessly raping History will shift the principal focus of our critical gaze towards the new set of scoundrels.

For people who “are not friends, but respect each other” (a possible future condition to which I am not opposed) these clarifying remarks are surely a more than adequate deviation from the HNN guidelines


Please do not post comments that are irrelevant to the subject under discussion.”

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Broce, For at least the 5th time in recent weeks, you are choking on the word "chickenhawk". Could it be because there are no long lists of Democrats with that particular imperfection ?

A Chickenhawk is a subspecies of the genus Hypocrite. The observation that several current top politicians in Washington D.C. clearly fit this classification is completely independent of any irrelevant personal details of the observer.

I think we are in agreement that when it comes to cowardice, the Democrats lead the Republicans, at least in recent years. Had you bothered to properly state that, rather than make your usual one-sided slam against one of the two parties only, there would have been no need for this latest exchange.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Heisler,

Some of your points are credible. Not the one about Iran. Had Cheney and Bush "spoken softly and carried a big stick" with Iraq instead of doing precisely the opposite, and with titanic ineptitude to boot, we would have a fair chance to stop Iran from going nuclear. Instead, thanks in no small degree to the reckless arrogance and extraordinary bungling of this presidential administration, global nuclear proliferation is advancing like never before (since the 1940s) and the world is becoming a more dangerous place as a result.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

No problem with irony if it suits the subject, rather serving as a cloak for stubborn irrelevance.

As for "directness" try absorbing this into your armor-plated cranium: ANY American citizen has the fundamental God-given right to question the consistency, courage or ANY OTHER TRAIT of ANY TOP PUBLIC OFFICIAL. Perhaps if America were truly under attack in a real war being waged by an identifiable enemy, a few slight limitations upon that right might be in order, but not many.

I don't doubt your courage, by the way, but if your service in the armed forces was in any way connected with desires or attempts to undermine that sort of basic democratic and republican (lower case, both times) principle, then, frankly, America does not need your "curriculum vitae chock full of daring."

At this point I would like to stop pandering to your irrelevance.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


So glad you came in off the golf course to join us... how you hitting them? From the looks of your post you're suffering from a case of heat exhaustion and/or delirium...

Only (79) dead from today's Mosque bombing... Now the Republican's are blaming the problems where it squarely belongs... on the Iraqi's.

Danny Boy Pipes wails, ""the ingratitude of the Iraqis for the extraordinary favor we gave them: to release them from the bondage of Saddam Hussein's tyranny." Those ingrates especially, after we whipped up that batch of shock and awe to serve with tea.

Not to be outdone, Condi Rice moaned, "We have forces on the ground and have sacrificed here" to which Jack Straw butted in to spew, "The Americans have lost over 2,000 people. We've lost over 100 and billions, billions of United States dollars, hundreds of millions of British pound sterling have come into this country. We do have, I think, a right to say that we've got to be able to deal with Mr. A or Mr. B or Mr. C. We can't deal with Mr. Nobody."

Those damn Iraqi's begging us to invade and blow up their country and shoot the neighbors surely, they haven't heard a word single spoken by Mr. Bush nor you for that matter... How about elaborating on those "thousands of tactical errors" Ms. Rice so eagerly offered up as her lame excuse for Republican malfeasance and incompetence?

Here's a little treat for you... first of a double feature today at the HNN Bijou...


The economy is sure going swimmingly for the country club set... Do you drive a GM automobile to the links? Maybe that border fence will be made from USX instead of Daido steel...

And our good friends in China... how nice of you to show some love for our communist partners... morals/ values/ principals never mattered to a Republican... only cold hard cash. Republicans will sleep with anyone willing to pay... especially, children as shown above however, I am not as crass as some other name droppers who post here.

To help you catch up on our enemies in China here's some bathroom reading material for your enjoyment...


And a repeat performance of one of my favorite matinee features that played at another post last week just in case you missed it to complete the twin bill... as promised...


As to Mr. Bush's clean administration Fitz ain't done yet... and legacy... isn't that the name of the foreign luxury car you drive?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Thanks for outing those despicable Democrats. That is really great material that can be used for flyers to promote the Libertarian agenda... not every politician has the scruples of Ron Paul but, us true conservatives can dream... the Republicans and Democrats in Congress can never take away that basic right...


A true democratic process in Iraq would be ideal only if Republicans would quite meddling... at least al Jaafari has the guts to tell the Repugs to piss off... too bad Democrats don't nominate him as head of the DNC instead of the good doctor...

But, Turkey a democracy? Someone better not tell that to the Kurds.

And a duel Israeli/Palestinian state... what are you smoking? 50K heavily armed Palestinian Police who haven't been paid by a Hamas government who has been cut off from international aid... sounds like a mean/mobile army ready to whip up some trouble either internally or against their Israeli nemesis...

As for building fences the only one we need is to toss Delay and the Bush gang behind... razor wire/barbed tape concertina profile...

If the immigrants are fenced out who's going to serve your favorite margarita at the club or clean your pool or trim the shrubs... good God you'll have to do Manuel labor.

And as to the economy... you make too much money and live in too white bread a world... also don't believe everything Uncle Sam or Drudge sells...

4.7% Unemployment Rate isn't that hot... that is still around 8.25M unemployed and the whole story is always hidden behind the curtain... right Frank Morgan...

Payroll Employment +211,000
Unemployment Initial Claims -299,000

Net job loss 88,000

Productivity off .5%
US Import Price Index off .5%
Oil (LSC) per barrel $67.43


As always the questions will come but, you failed to address the Fitzpatrick/ Libby Indictment or the Iran problem nor the China dilemma because you were either so overcome with glee by outing those donkeys on the left or you didn't want to step into the dung heap that these pointed issues present for Republican shoes.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


This is the root cause of the problem that as always you nail dead on...

Republicans and rightists always talk big, talk tough, God fearing, self righteous pomposity all the while belittling the free thinkers, liberals and left as weak, traitorous, siders of the enemy and unworthy to claim ourselves American.

History proves otherwise... it was the left who lead the charges in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Did we make mistakes... sure did and admitted them... but, we took the bull by the horns not, the right. The right, including the ancestors of our illustrious GWB were busy aiding and abetting Hitler.

The Republican's cut and run from Lebanon and can barely celebrate their list of war glories in Panama, Grenada and Haiti without a good whiff of laughing gas.

Look how the right portrayed us at the wars outset. Now that the war has gone so terribly wrong the 'With Us Or Against Us' set is blaming the media, Saddam (can you believe it), foreign influence, immigrants, gays and any other creature that doesn't wear a blind elephant tattoo on their forehead.

Instead of taking charge, making decisions... even a wrong one is better than no decision... they are busy blaming and pointing fingers as our nation spirals into paralysis while getting our hats handed to us by a rag tag bunch of Iraqi's. As a liberal my position is to move forward against Iran... not one HNN rightist has come forward with an endorsement... UNAMERICAN COWARDS ... they should all be sent to GITMO.

If they want to fight let's fight if not then they need to shut the hell up...

This is the war Republicans wanted... their cakewalk to consolidate their power for the next fifty years... and they cannot make a decision to save themselves. What a pack of hacks... truly pitiful... If I were a Republican I'd hang myself from the nearest oak out of pure shame.

What is even more troublesome is that they actually spawn... gutless, inbred, incestuous Young Republicans all gung-ho for the war as long as it doesn't interfere with Daddy buying me a BMW or a double latte or the raping of my lacrosse team stripper... as some poor ghetto kid does the actual dirty work.


Republicans have flushed my America straight down the toilet and I will never forgive them.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You write, "The US funded the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, not OBL"

That may be true... to a point... unless of course you're a double-ought CIA spy... Jethro Bodine Heuisler... and are privy to the inner workings of the spy masters during the Soviet Invasion...

"While the charges that the CIA was responsible for the rise of the Afghan Arabs might make good copy, they don't make good history. The truth is more complicated, tinged with varying shades of gray. The United States wanted to be able to deny that the CIA was funding the Afghan war, so its support was funneled through Pakistan's military intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). ISI in turn made the decisions about which Afghan factions to arm and train, tending to favor the most Islamist and pro-Pakistan."

Provide proof that CIA money did not reach the Afghan Arabs of Bin Laden via Pakistan's ISI?

Pakistan, along with Gulf money funded Bin Laden's training center in Khost. How many CIA dollars, if any, were routed through Pak to fund this operational base?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


No withdrawal... EVER...

Let's bomb Iran...

Get on with it already...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You're failure to address questions regarding indictments, Iran and China by comfortably ignoring or conveniently forgetting or with true Bushesque flair, by avoiding altogether, these questions is understandable. Never face issues that present obstacles to the progress in shaping the future of your New American Century.

Maybe, those of us who want so badly to convert, yet, don't know how... so as to be spared a horrific future under the brutal rod of your new dawn society... require the sage advise of one such as yourself who may be a prime candidate as a 'black shirt' jailer or as an administrator of re-education for the unwashed masses.

Now that you have been totally outed/thoroughly vetted by Peter as a shill, dupe, psuedo-propoganist and brainwashed/ brain dead tool of the Rove junta tell us what is the pay out to those who so willing dance to the tunes of the new American Republican Party?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


"Ideas Are Bulletproof"-- V. (V Is For Vendetta)

At least you are reading... there is hope for you yet... now if we can only get you to not blindly trust the government at 100% full face value on everything they say or do then my crazy train posts will be worth every mindless word.

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." -- James Madison

"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." -- Thomas Jefferson

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." -- Edward R. Morrow

"I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman's club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave." -- H.L. Mencken

Men of far more shining brilliance than you or I and if the "Libby lied" bunk is true then why all the fuss on the Sunday morning talk show circuit? Billy Kristol was spinning faster than a flywheel... Wolf J. Flywheel... in trying to discredit the special prosecutor. The same little Billy who tripped over himself to justify the incompetent Ken Starr as a special prosecutor, or as any type of barrister for that matter, when Clinton was on the hot seat for an act that was nobody's business other than that of his old lady.

But being the good bundist that you are someone's sexual dalliances is much more important than lying our nation into war and what is 2350 dead anyway... just a number... they'll all be forgotten in a thousand years anyway, right?

And Iran does need whacked that's why the truthsayer Sy Hersh was on the morning telly to warn the public as to what the White House messiah has in store for his froth-mouthed, blind as worm followers. Ron Paul was also at the vanguard forefront to issue warning but, when you're this far along in your failed 2nd term, loosing face at home daily and with a quagmire on the front lines of Iraq the only way to go is up... or down in this case with a bunker buster nuke... so let's get on with the show already.

Finally, China. Here's a little experiment for you. Take everything in your home that is labeled "Made in China" and pitch it out the front door. Then post to me a list of what's left remaining inside your domicile. Be sure to keep at least one chair as it is mighty uncomfortable sitting on your hands.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You're right. Twenty years ago the Republicans, as the Party of Lincoln, really did represent the ideals of smaller/ less intrusive/ honest government & elimination of mandates, staunch defender of the Constitution, guardian of states rights, a friend to small business, purveyor of fiscal conservatism, strong on defense & wary of foreign entanglement and the proponent of personal responsibility/ accountability.

The right, as a whole, has always been suspect but, must not be confused with the Republican Party.

That all changed in 1994 as the Gingrich revolution swept into power and the charter of the Republican Party was forsaken for a culture of corruption, southern christo-fascism and white hate that now permeate this once proud organ of government. The rightists hijacked the power positions and reshaped the party into the unrecognizable form we now live with.

If a political group identifies someone like John McCain as a moderate then where does the heart & soul of the body lay?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You write, "let's leave when the job is done and there is stability in Iraq and Afghanistan" as though this is a 9:00 to 5:00 job down at the broom factory...

Again we struggled this weekend... (13) Service personnel dead (3) MIA (2) downed copters... (50+) civilian murders... GWB and C. Rice telling PM Jaafari to step down/ Democracy in Action... General Zinni on TV asking Rummy to resign... Andy Card packed off to a lobbyist payday (Speaking of cards... no not me... whatever, happened to the Deck Of 52 Iraqi Most Wanted that GWB and FOX touted? Seems like eons ago. I bet if they were cherry a souvenir deck would bring top dollar on eBay or Antique Road Show)… the only good news was Jill Carroll’s release…

In chess there are only three moves. Forward, hold and retreat. As a good Republican appartchik it is no surprise that you are holding up the party line to stand pat… stalemate… more of the same day in and day out… Republican’s who created this mess and now lie, lie, lie and lie some more as they are too gutless to move forward or retreat… Just goes to show you how useless the criminal class is in this country…

Well it takes Liberals to move the line. Always has. Always will. We have carried you’re sorry behinds so many times what makes now any different? I was not joking about bombing Iran and expanding the theater.

Iran is showing belligerence that cannot and should not be tolerated and they need whacked… testing new torpedoes and long-range radar evading missiles… is unacceptable but, the weak knee Republican’s are too spineless to let ‘er rip...

The only move is forward… GWB needs to salvage his miserably failed Presidency and the Brits report that AG Gonzales is formulating an Executive Order to suspend elections and install GWB in the Oval Office under the guise of national emergency for the duration of the war. Just what we need Chimpy McRetard as our permanent executive.

If GWB wants to be a great President now is his time to shine. Republican’s need to drop the whining brat act and toughen up and move this country into gear… full war footing and military draft…

It’s is time to put the pedal to the metal or we will be dicking around with these same problems with no resolution or end in site for the next (20) years…

PS... Did you ever find out who Mr. Gorsky was?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


That is why this Junior Einstein recommends that all eligible voters register as either an Independent or Libertarian or unaffiliated third party and definitely vote for the individual and not a particular party.

However, it is the Republicans who are in power at the moment therefore, the question begs...

What are the Republicans doing or not doing to drive the country forward in a time of war, economic uncertainty and social upheaval?

Before this thread takes off let's put the cards on the table... NO CLINTON or KENNEDY or DHS SEXUAL PECCADILLOES posting...

Why... because Republicans are righteous too...

Let's hold back on the names out of respect for the criminally insane which can be provided if a card carrier such as you requires verification.

* Republican anti-abortion activist -X- is a convicted child rapist in Florida.

* Republican County Commissioner -X- pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

* Republican judge -X- pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

* Republican anti-abortion activist -X- pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.

* Republican legislator -X- was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.

* Republican Mayor -X- is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.

* Republican campaign consultant -X- was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.

* Republican United States Senator -X- had sex with a 15-year old girl which produced a child.

* Republican pastor -X-, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.

* Republican legislator -X- pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

* Republican Congressman -X- was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.

* Republican fundraiser -X- was found guilty of child pornography charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.

* Republican activist -X- convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

* Republican activist -X- pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

* Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader -X- admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.

* Republican congressman and anti-gay activist -X- was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.

* Republican Committee Chairman -X- was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.

* Republican activist -X- was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.

* Republican legislative aide -X- was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.

* Republican Senate candidate -X- was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.

* Republican preacher -X- who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced to jail after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.

* Republican talk show host -X- pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.

* Republican anti-gay activist -X- was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.

* Republican Party leader -X- pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.

* Republican election board official -X- was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.

* Republican politician -X- was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.

* Republican politician -X- was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).

* Republican anti-abortion activist -X- was charged with sexual misconduct involving a 15-year old girl.

* Republican County Councilman -X- pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.

* Republican activist -X- was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.

* Republican candidate -X- admitted to molesting his two daughters.

* Republican Councilman -X- was convicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.

* Republican County Commissioner -X- pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.

* Republican City Councilman -X- pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.

* Republican activist -X- pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.

* Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative -X- was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.

* Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate -X- was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.

* Republican city councilman -X-, who is described as a "good military man" and "church goer," was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

* Republican businessman -X- withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.

* Republican director of the Young Republican Federation -X- molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

* Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups -X- was charged with rape for allegedly paying a 15-year old girl for sex. -X- who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.

After you wipe the coffee spray from your computer screen you can proceed to tell us just how proud you are to be associated with the GOP.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Now that Peter has eloquently laid out the definition for what/where is courage and it's uneasy partner cowardice you can now enlighten us with the Republican 2006 Platform...

What is the next stage/steps/plan in Iraq? Afghanistan?

What is on the horizon in dealing with Iran?

What is the next step to advance an Israeli/ Palestinian peace initiative?

What is the plan to solve the current immigration crisis?

What is the plan to stop our economy from hemorrhaging jobs? What to do with China?

What can the WH do to stem the incoming barrage of accusations of wrongdoing and successfully fend off indictments?

How can GWB salvage his Presidential legacy?

When you done handling this small homework assignment I've got another dozen or so questions for you to field...

Steve Broce - 4/10/2006

no seriously

Steve Broce - 4/10/2006


Steve Broce - 4/9/2006

“P.S. There was no "faltering economy" in 2000. Just another Rove lie recycling through your unthinking unoriginal mind”

This can only be a product of dementia on your part.

Pete, what is clear from your last post is that you have no argument left.

All that remains is your pathetic need to get the last word in.

I’m going to let you satisfy that need.

Bill Heuisler - 4/9/2006

Well done, Steve,
Game, set and match.
Your dismantling of the inane was a joy to behold.

Clarke is chewing on his own words and Ebbitt remains confused about everything. I don't know how you have the patience.

Steve Broce - 4/9/2006

You are indeed technically correct about Leahy, Kennedy, or Levin supporting the use of military force..”

Pete, I know a little of you died to make that grudging admission, so I really appreciate it. Then you go on

“which makes them minor chickenhawks.”

More, neat little pigeonholes, Pete? So now we have “chickens”, “minor chickenhawks” and, I presume “major chickenhawks”.

Your next paragraph is emblematic of your tortured logic:

“You are, however, flat wrong to try to "pigeonhole" me in the "neat little category" of chickenhawk. I am a public citizen, not a government official or member of Congress. I do not vote on authorizations of force or declarations of war”

Translation: I, Pete Clarke, have defined “chickenhawk” in such a way that even though I support the sending of our troops into combat, and I myself have not established my record of military service, I’m not a “chickenhawk” because I’m not the one ACTUALLY sending the troops into combat.

Well isn’t that convenient for you. Around here, Pete, we call that a distinction without a difference. If you are going to call others without prior military service “chickenhawks” for sending troops into combat, then save a seat on the “chickenhawk express” for yourself, for supporting those who DO send them into combat.

I don’t know what’s more pathetic, that you call other’s “chickenhawks” or that you would actually make the “I’m NOT a chickenhawk because I’m not doing the sending, even though I support the ones who do send them” argument.

Were you at least blushing while you were typing that paragraph?

As for the Children’s analogy, understanding that the only “economics” that you appear qualified to pontificate about are “home economics”, I’m going to give you a pass on your ignorance as to the state of the economy at the end of the Clinton Administration.

The fact of the matter is that the economy that Clinton left Bush was a faltering economy. The slide had already started by the time Bush took office. Bush had to stimulate the economy with tax cuts. As I’ve challenged you before, if you are aware of an economic theory that involves RAISING taxes to stimulate a sluggish economy, please disclose it.

As I’ve posted before, in my opinion the problem is runaway spending and on that issue there is no daylight between the Dems and the Repubs.

Steve Broce - 4/9/2006

Patrick, I issued YOU a challenge, which YOU ignored:

Do you have some evidence that Bush is indictable? How about Cheney? If so, let’s see it.

As for Libby, what is there to say? If he intentionally lied to a FGJ, as the indictment alleges, then he should be punished. An indictment, however, is not a conviction.


Your position on Iran is hopelessly muddled. You post

“Iran is showing belligerence that cannot and should not be tolerated and they need whacked, testing new torpedoes and long-range radar evading missiles is unacceptable but, the weak knee Republicans are too spineless to “let er rip...”

Then you make some fawning reference to Ron Paul and link to an article he wrote which contains the following passages:

“The charges made against Iran are unsubstantiated, and amazingly sound very similar to the false charges made against Iraq.”

“There is no evidence of a threat to us by Iran, and no reason to plan and initiate a confrontation with her. There are many reasons not to do so, however.”

“Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and there’s no evidence that she is working on one – only conjecture.”

So which is it, Pal, “let it rip” or “There is no evidence of a threat to us by Iran”? Talk about trying to have it both ways.


Maybe we should do what the liberals did: Sell the Chinese sophisticated missile technology and accept campaign contributions from the Chinese government. Then we can contract our port operations to the Chinese, like Clinton did.

That probably wasn’t the answer you were looking for, though, was it?

As for what I get paid for being a “brainwashed/ brain dead tool of the Rove junta’, I really can only say that is not nearly enough for having deal with the likes of you, Patrick, who is so obviously suffering from delusions of adequacy

Steve Broce - 4/9/2006

Pete, with respect to your exhibit 1, allow me a few corrections to make your analogy more apt:

Child A plays with matches in his room. Just as the fire starts to burn, he leaves. Child B comes along, discovers the fire and starts putting it out. You now want to beat Child B because fighting fires is a little messy.

As for where I got my information about the military service (or lack thereof) of the prominent Democrats that I listed, it is all public information, available to anyone who cares to look it up. Do you dispute any of the information contained in my comment?

With respect to your challenge for me to identify any examples of Leahy, Kennedy, or Levin supporting military action, let me suggest that you look up the legislative history of Public Law 107-40. I’ll give YOU a hint: the short title of this legislation is “Authorization for the use of Military Force”. If you check, you’ll find that Levin, Kennedy, and Leahy all voted “aye”.

Howard Dean, of course, is another matter. Having never served in the US Legislature, Dean has never “voted” to authorize military force in any situation. He has, however, publicly supported the use of American soldiers in Afghanistan.

For that matter, of course, your own support for the Afghan “war”, expressed on HNN, makes you a “chickenhawk” (again, your words), by your own standards. Unless you are now willing to reveal your own illustrious military exploits.

Pete, I reject your characterization of me as being “hateful of Tweedledee” and “worshipful of Tweedledumb”. I don’t hate anyone. However, you appear to have trouble accepting that you and I just fundamentally disagree. You have a need to couch our disagreement in simple terms, like “hateful” and “worshipful”.

Mindless polemicists like you can only understand their opponents in terms which allow them to be pigeonholed in neat little categories. That is why when you are called on your many factual or analytical errors, the person who points them out is a “diehard propagandizing worshipper” or is “Rove-programmed’. In your world, Pete, that kind of invective is what substitutes for critical thinking.

Steve Broce - 4/8/2006

I guess some wacko's (present company excluded) consider the Office of Management and Budget a "PROPAGANDA WEBSITE", but not most normal folks.

Steve Broce - 4/8/2006

Like I said, and you must have missed in your haste, I will post the military action (read: send our military off to fight and possibly die) that each of the Democrats I listed voted for in the past. Even someone as sloppy as you can see that meets your definition of a “chickenhawk”

Now when it comes to hypocrisy, I bow to you as a practitioner of same when it comes to recognizing them.

As for the National Debt as a percent of GDP, let me apologize. I assumed you could read tables. My mistake. Because you are math challenged, I’ve summarized the first 5 years of Bush and Clinton’s presidency. As even someone with grade school math abilities can see, Bush’s figures were lower FOR EVERY YEAR.

Clinton Bush
1 66.2 57.4
2 66.7 59.7
3 67.2 62.6
4 67.3 63.6
5 65.6 64.3

Again, I apologize for summarizing. I can see how you got confused.

In any event, I did say it was approximately the same. I assumed you were familiar with the term “approximately”

I’ve included a link to an on-line dictionary to help you out with the term.


As for your description of the Laffer Curve, I’m not going to argue with you about economics. It’s a little bit like me trying to describe the color blue to a blind man..

Steve Broce - 4/8/2006

Look, Pete, you challenged me by suggesting that with respect to “chickenhawks” there “are no long lists of Democrats with that particular imperfection “

Beg to differ with you, my ill-informed friend. As you can see, the list is long and distinguished.

As for the answer to your challenge being “a huge load of steaming stinking irrelevant bull”, you really shouldn’t expect a free pass when you make silly, uninformed assertions, as you are prone to do. You must have seen some “relevance” at the time that you issued your foolish challenge.

The difference between “chickenhawks” and “chickens” (your vernacular, not mine) is obvious. Do you really want me to go back and post the various military actions that each of the Democrats listed have supported in the past?

Now then, you want some evidence for my Economic statistics. Fair enough.

With respect to Inflation:


You can see the inflation rate for the first 5 years of the Clinton Administration in every year save one, is higher than for the first 5 years of the Bush Administration.
I’ll do the math for you, because I perceive that math is not your strong suit:

Compounded total inflation, first 5 years, Clinton Administration: 14.5%
Compounded total inflation, first 5 years, Bush Administration: 13.5%

As I said, “"Inflation is lower than in Clinton’s presidency"

With respect to the National Debt as a percent of GDP:



As you can see, under the “Gross federal Debt as a percent of GDP” column, National Debt, as a percent of GDP topped out in the Clinton Administration at 67.3% in 1996. Under the Bush Administration, the highest comparable figure is 64.3% in 2005.

Actually I was wrong. Bush’s Debt as a percent of GDP is LOWER than Clinton’s.

My Bad.

Edwin Moise - 4/8/2006

The Paris Agreement of January 1973 is not referred to as a treaty in most documents of the period. The words used in most documents were "Accord," "Accords," or "Agreement."

A treaty must, under the Constitution, be ratified by the Senate. The Paris Agreement wasn't.

If you will look more closely at the passage that you quote from Kissinger, you may notice that it makes quite clear that what Kissinger calls "aid" (weapons, ammunition, gasoline, etc.) was not cut off by the Congress. He says that "military support, even via airpower" (actual combat action by U.S. military forces) was cut off. This passage does not make a good justification for your statement that the Congress "cut off all financial support to SVN."

Steve Broce - 4/8/2006

Actually, Pete, I’m not into calling others “chicken hawks”. That’s your providence, not mine. I guess your hypocrisy on the issue is boundless. Unless, of course, you can establish your own bona fides on military service.

As for the Democrats, I guess their hypocrisy on the issue is boundless, also:

Bill Clinton, who served not one day in the military, by virtue of the fact that he connived, lied and mislead his draft board and the ROTC coordinator at his college has never satisfactorily explained his conduct.

Of course, no list of Democrat’s with questionable military service records would be complete without Tom Harkin. You know, the Tom Harkin who went around bragging about the “combat air patrols” he flew over Viet Nam. The Tom Harkin who called Dick Cheney a coward for never having served in Viet Nam. Turned out ole Tom had been lying all those years ‘bout those combat missions he’d flown in Viet Nam. Had to admit that all he’d ever done was ferry planes from the Philippines to Japan during the war.

Patrick Leahy, who referred to Saxby Chambliss as a “draft dodger”, dodged the draft himself with a deferment. (as I said, unbridled hypocrisy)

Charles Schumer, prime draft age during VN, no military service.

.Howard Dean dodged the draft on a “medical deferment” then spent his time skiing at Aspen.

Harry Reid has the same distinguished military record that Dick Cheney does, and apparently used the same deferments

Teddy Kennedy, though serving in the Army during the Korean War, spent his entire military career in Paris.

Joe Biden, although being of draft age, during the Viet Nam war, never served one day in the military.

Carl Levin, never served one day in the military

Ben Nelson, though prime draft age during VN war—spent entire war at the University of Nebraska.

Max Baucus, prime draft age during VN, never served in the military.

Chris Dodd, student deferments until the VN war ended, then Army reserve.

Ron Wyden, prime draft age during VN, never served in the military

Kent Conrad, prime draft age during VN, never served in the military

Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein.. Well, I think you know..

Should I go on?

Oh, and Peter Clarke is still not available for comment about his own distinguished combat record.

As for the “Republican cowardice”, why should I mention that? If I do, what will that leave for Patrick to talk about?

As for Econ 101, I seem to recall that class. If you took Econ 101, then you need to ask for a refund. You apparently got nothing out of it

Your knowledge appears to be on a par with Patrick’s.

The national debt today is approximately the same percent of GDP as it was at the same point in Clinton’s presidency.

Inflation is lower than in Clinton’s presidency.

Real interest rates are somewhat higher, but still historically and amazingly low.

You see, Pete, Bush inherited a faltering economy from Clinton and had to stimulate it. You may be aware of some economic theory that recommends tax increases during a recession. I’m not aware of any such theory.

You may want to acquaint yourself with Laffer curves. That will explain why even though Bush lowered rates, tax revenue growth has been robust. The real problem has been spending growth, which appears to be out of control. On that issue, the Dems and the Repubs are equally guilty.

Steve Broce - 4/8/2006

You know, Patrick, it’s just PERFECT that you would refer to Buridan’s ass paradox. You see, most scholars agree that the paradox, which didn’t originate with Buridan, is a gross oversimplification of Buridan’s position on freewill.

How typical of you, Patrick, to rely on a gross oversimplification. I guess you use the tools that you are most comfortable with.

As for outing those Democrats, I guess I was inspired by your similar list which somehow listed only Republicans. Didn’t want anyone to get the idea that the Republicans had somehow cornered the market on bad behavior.

Look, Patrick, your ignorance of the Israeli/Palestinian issues is frankly overwhelming. I just don’t have time to educate you. Assuming that your remarks were sincere, then I suggest that you do some reading about the Palestinian “right of return” issue and try Googling “one-state solution”. When you’re familiar with the issues, we’ll talk.

As for Turkey, why don’t you tell me your nominees in the category of Democratic Islamic Nations?

You could be right about whether I make too much money, though. Opinions vary on that issue.

As for whether 4.7% unemployment is “that hot” or not, suffice it to say that it is better than Clinton’s comparable figure for 5 of his 8 years.

Gee, Patrick, Bush’s CPI has gone up less than Clinton’s, too. Hey and GDP is growing faster than it did under Clinton.

Patrick, I know you like “gross oversimplification”, but it really takes more than just linking to a Department of Labor web page to demonstrate understanding of the US economy.

Steve Broce - 4/8/2006

You know, Patrick, it’s just PERFECT that you would refer to Buridan’s ass paradox. You see, most scholars agree that the paradox, which didn’t originate with Buridan, is a gross oversimplification of Buridan’s position on freewill.

How typical of you, Patrick, to rely on a gross oversimplification. I guess you use the tools that you are most comfortable with.

As for outing those Democrats, I guess I was inspired by your similar list which somehow listed only Republicans. Didn’t want anyone to get the idea that the Republicans had somehow cornered the market on bad behavior.

Look, Patrick, your ignorance of the Israeli/Palestinian issues is frankly overwhelming. I just don’t have time to educate you. Assuming that your remarks were sincere, then I suggest that you do some reading about the Palestinian “right of return” issue and try Googling “one-state solution”. When you’re familiar with the issues, we’ll talk.

As for Turkey, why don’t you tell me your nominees in the category of Democratic Islamic Nations?

You could be right about whether I make too much money, though. Opinions vary on that issue.

As for whether 4.7% unemployment is “that hot” or not, suffice it to say that it is better than Clinton’s comparable figure for 5 of his 8 years.

Gee, Patrick, Bush’s CPI has gone up less than Clinton’s, too. Hey and GDP is growing faster than it did under Clinton.

Patrick, I know you like “gross oversimplification”, but it really takes more than just linking to a Department of Labor web page to demonstrate understanding of the US economy.

Bill Heuisler - 4/7/2006

Mr. Moise,
The Paris Peace Accords signed Jan. 27, 1973 were the treaty. They are referred to as a treaty in most documents of the period.

As to the aid cut-off, there are fewer better sources than Kissinger who was there and involved in the negotiations. Here's an exerpt of a WAPO article (page A19) Kissinger wrote on 8/12/2005 about the matter.

"...after the failure of Hanoi's Tet Offensive, the guerrilla threat was substantially eliminated. Saigon and all other urban centers were far safer than major cities in Iraq are today. Saigon controlled perhaps 80 percent of the country with relatively well-established front lines. Vietnamese army units were increasingly able to repel offensives from the regular forces of Hanoi.

When the Vietnamese army, with substantial U.S. air support, broke the back of the North Vietnamese all-out offensive in 1972, Vietnamization could be judged a success. Shortly afterward the North Vietnamese accepted terms that they had rejected for four years. (That they did, however, does not settle the debate over whether a different withdrawal rate -- slower, faster or none at all until after a settlement -- could have speeded that day.) Three years later, these results were reversed, not because of internal violence but because of an external attack by Hanoi's conventional military force, in violation of every provision of the Paris agreement.

America's emotional exhaustion with the war and the domestic travail of Watergate had reduced economic and military aid to Vietnam by two-thirds, and Congress prohibited military support, even via airpower, to the besieged ally. None of the countries that had served as guarantors of the agreement was prepared to lift a diplomatic finger."

"...Congress prohibited military support."
Look the whole thing up. He has an axe to grind, but he's not going to misstate the record in any way that can be disproved by his enemies.
Disagree? Give me a better source.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 4/7/2006

Mr. Clarke,
Since you don't appreciate irony, I'll be more direct.

Cease questioning others' courage unless you can show your standing to make such remarks, your knowledge of the subject or the relevance of your opinion.

Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 4/6/2006

Mr. Clarke,
Thanks for your attempt to flatter.
John and I served our country at about the same time. He suffered for six years in conditions you can only imagine and I did my part for truth, justice and the American Way. We are not friends, but respect each other.

As you and I have come to do.
And, since we apparently admire each other so much, why not allow us all a glimpse into your illustrious past?
Your displays of historical ability coupled with constant allusions to courage lead me to suspect a hidden Clarke curriculum vitae chock full of daring and diplomas.

Regale us, oh learned warrior. Explain your contempt for those who haven't served.
Bill Heuisler

Steve Broce - 4/6/2006

Patrick, I’ve already commented on what I think of Pete’s “eloquence” and I don’t speak for the Republican Party. However, if you want my personal opinion as to the issues you raised, here goes:

I believe that the next stage/step/plan in Iraq is just what Bush has laid out. To wit, continue to support the democratic process in Iraq, continue to build up the Iraqi military and police, gradual drawing down of US troop strength as Iraqi authorities become able to handle Iraqi security.

Ditto for Afghanistan.

As for what’s on the horizon-in the short term, probably more turmoil. Long term, if we stay the course, hopefully some kind of Democracy that looks something like Turkey (that’s the country, not the bird, Pete)

Next step for Israel and Palestine is probably a Two-State solution. My guess is that Israel, in the next 18 months will do something in the West Bank that approximates what they recently did in Gaza.

Unless Hamas denounces terrorism, little negotiated progress is likely. Based on the recent elections in Israel, I think that Israel will dismantle most of the West Bank settlements, keep some that are contiguous with the green line and then leave Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians.

Hamas will likely engage in cross-border attacks for the foreseeable future and as a result, will experience sever cutbacks of international aid.

With respect to the immigration crisis, both parties are out of step with the vast majority of US voters, who would like to see some kind of fence before we grant legal status to illegal aliens. I do not expect that to happen, however. Both Parties thinking on this issue is a mystery. Twenty years ago Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million illegals. Now we have 12 million more. If serious steps are not taken, in 20 years, we will have 40 million more.

Hemorrhaging jobs? Our economy? We have the lowest unemployment rate that this country has seen in a long time.

Bush either did something indictable or he didn’t. If you have some proof that he did, please disclose it now.

Methinks you are far more concerned with Bush’s “legacy” than Bush is.

Now about those other questions…

Steve Broce - 4/6/2006

You know, Pete, I’m really starting to think that your function at HNN is to make all the other commenters look erudite by comparison.

As I posted, with reference to Patrick’s lament about “gutless Republicans”, the real gutless politicians are the Democrats, who backed the war when they believed it would be a “walk-over” and who now run from their own statements and votes when the going gets tough.

But your comment about “Cowardice and its opposite, courage, are largely genetic traits.” is really informative. Gee, an historian AND a geneticist, too

As for “it is nonsensical to pretend that one political Party with tens of millions of members has cowards, and another also with tens of millions of members has no cowards.”—only a buffoon could infer from my comments an indictment of ALL Democrats.

However, since you have problems with the obvious, let me clarify: I was speaking about the Democrat politicians who have a long record of describing the threat that Saddam posed and who voted for the war, who now whine about how they were “mislead” and seek to cut and run.

By the way, speaking of courage and cowardice, since you continue to refer to others as "chickenhawks", please, please post some details of your own combat experiences.

Steve Broce - 4/6/2006

Patrick, I’ve made a little list of my own. Unlike you, however, I’ve included names so that the list can be checked. Not that I’m suggesting anything..

Democrat President—admitted perjurer, surrendered legal license, impeached (Clinton)

Democrat National Security Advisor—pled guilty to stealing documents from National Archives (Berger)

Democrat Secretary of HUD-pled guilty of lying to the FBI (Cisneros)

Democrat Senator-pled guilty to leaving the scene of the accident in which death occurred (Kennedy)

Democrat Congressman-named as “unindicted co-conspirator” in the “Abscam” investigation (Murtha) (Yes, that Murtha)

Democrat Congressman-admitted to paying a male prostitute for sex and then hiring the prostitute as a “personal assistant”. Congressman then allowed “personal assistant” to use the Congressman’s apartment for liaisons with other “clients” (Frank)

Democrat Congressman –censured for molesting a 17 year-old male Congressional Page (Studds)

Democrat Congressman-pled guilty to tax fraud and accepting gratuities in office (Mavroulas)

Democrat Congressman-left office after admitting to having an affair with an intern and lying about it to Washington, DC police after the intern went missing (Condit)

Democrat Congressman-Indicted on 17 felony counts involving misuse of public funds-served 17 months in Federal prison (Rostenkowski)

Democrat Congressman-pled guilty to sexual misconduct with a minor and obstruction of justice-sentenced to 5 years in prison (Reynolds)

Democrat Congressman-convicted of eleven counts of mail fraud and filing false payroll tax returns-sentenced to three years in prison. (Diggs)

Democrat Congressman-pled guilty to soliciting sex from a minor, drug possession, tax evasion, and improper payments to Federal employee (Richmond)

Democrat Congressman-convicted of bribery, sentenced to three years (Lederer)

Democrat Congressman-convicted of nine counts of bribery, racketeering, receiving an unlawful gratuity (Williams)

Democrat Congressman-convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges. Sentenced to three years in prison (Thompson)

Democrat Congressman-convicted of bribery and conspiracy; sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000. (Myers)

Democrat Congressman-convicted of conspiracy, conflict of interest, and accepting an illegal gratuity. Sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000. (Murphy)

Democrat Congressman-convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges and sentenced to prison. (Jenrette) ( Personal note-had a VERY hot wife who appeared in a Playboy pictorial after his conviction)

Democrat Congressman-impeached and removed from office as federal judge in 1989 over bribery charges. (Hastings)

Democrat Governor-admitted to having an illegal sexual relationship with a 14-year-old teenager while he was serving as Mayor of Portland.(Goldschmidt)

Democrat Mayor-convicted of cocaine possession after being caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine (Barry)

Democrat Congressman- convicted of obstructing justice, accepting illegal gratuities and racketeering charges, convicted on 15 felony counts. (Biaggio)

Democrat Congressman- pled guilty to two charges of funneling $16,000 through fake donors.

Democrat State Senator- Pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting unlawful payments from veterans and former prisoners of war. (Swanson)

Democrat Governor- resigned in July 1996 after conviction on federal fraud charges as part of the Whitewater investigation. (Tucker)

Democrat State Senator-sentenced to six years in prison and fined $40,000 for his involvement in bribery scheme (Errichetti)

Democrat City Councilman-resigned from City Council after admitting to paying a prostitute with a personal check, which was found in a police raid on a massage parlor. (Springer) (Yes, Jerry Springer)

Democrat Congressman- pled guilty to a conspiracy charge involving payoffs (Flood)

Democrat Congressman-indicted on federal charges of income tax evasion, conspiracy, and perjury (Gallagher)

Democrat Congressman- Received payments of about $200,000 from a Korean businessman, pled guilty and sentenced to federal prison. (Hanna).

Democrat Senator-indicted on charges of accepting illegal gratuity while in Senate, pled guilty.

Democrat Mayor- Sentenced to 27 months in prison for extortion and tax evasion (Tucker)

Democrat Governor-pled guilty to an election law violation. (Walters)

Democrat Presidential Candidate- admitted to having an extramarital affair and fathering an illegitimate child. (Jackson)

Democrat Congressman-expelled from Congress after being convicted of corruption charges, sentenced to eight years in prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks.(Traficante)

And the list just keeps on growing…

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/6/2006

Patrick, if you had been listening to the Bush Administration since 9/11, the questions about the war on terror, Afganistan/Iraq have long been answered.
Iran has been addressed and is following the same track as the invasion of Iraq.
There is little to no loss of jobs with unemployment at historical lows, the economy is booming despite the high energy costs.
Bush has addressed the immigration problem and some solutions are being addressed as we speak.
China is doing well, thank you, developing a capitalist economy at a record pace--good for the Chinese and great for the rest of the world--lots of new consumers.
Nothing is wrong with the "indictments" Bush has had the cleanest administration record in recent history--just compare the forced resignations, indictments, scandals with the previous administration. No important scandals are likely to ensue, particularly when the opposition takes it's seventh straight drubbing at the hands of the voters this Fall election. Yes Patrick that is going to happen--American voters know a leader when they see one and they will always go with one especially with a clueless, disorganized, uninspired opponent on the other side.

Do not worry about the "legacy" that has been written in the five years of security every American has enjoyed since 9/11. Bush will be remembered very, very well by historians--no question that this war leader is amongst the most effective, if not the most effective in our history.

But, you lack the objectivity to understand,acknowledge, and accept any of this. You will live long enough to grind your teeth with anger when the results are in.

Edwin Moise - 4/6/2006

Mr. Heuisler -

You ask about the levels of US and Soviet aid, in 1973.

According to an estimate compiled jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, the combined total of the value of Chinese plus Soviet aid to North Vietnam, in 1973, was $920 million. Source: CIA memorandum, "Commmunist Military and Economic Aid to North Vietnam, 1970-1974," March 4, 1975.

US aid budgets were by fiscal years, not calendar years, so I don't have exact figures for US aid to South Vietnam for calendar year 1973. But US aid for fiscal year 1973 (mid 1972 to mid 1973) was $3,801 million, and US aid for fiscal year 1974 (mid 1973 to mid 1974) was $1,595 million. Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1975, p. 319.

The Chinese and Soviet aid to North Vietnam, according to the CIA/DIA estimates, was mostly economic. The US aid to South Vietnam was mostly military.

Edwin Moise - 4/6/2006

The statement "Prospects were good until a Democrat Congress failed to comply with our treaty obligations and cut off all financial support to SVN" is false in two ways.

The important one is that the Congress did not cut off, nor attempt to cut off, the flow of U.S. military aid to Saigon. The aid was still flowing, fully authorized by Congress, when Saigon fell at the end of April 1975.

The minor one is that there was not, so far as I can recall, any treaty that required U.S. aid for Saigon. The Paris Agreement of 1973 permitted U.S. aid to Saigon, but did not require such aid, and was not a treaty.

Louis Nelson Proyect - 4/6/2006

"Lebanon did not fair much better."

Sloppy politics and sloppy writing seem to go together.

Steve Broce - 4/6/2006

Ohhh, Brother.

If anyone has shown cowardice on the subject of the Iraqi war, it has been the Dems. You, know, Patrick, the guys who were “for the War, before they were against it”.

Bill Heuisler - 4/5/2006

Mr. Ebbitt and Mr. Clarke,
If most readers of HNN are like me, then many are awed by your brilliant duets of dialectic.

Thank you for allowing us lesser minds to swim in the same ruminant pond with such paragons. After your learned dissertations, long-time Republicans right now will despair of reclaiming lost years, grand illusions and the disappointments with all those men and women we thought had such promise.

Oh God, the waste! We'll change now.

We'll admire righteous Kerrys and Kennedys, intellectual pioneers, Reid, Dean, Byrd, Durbin and Leahy.
We'll savor Divinity in Gore, the rampant Juris Doctors of Clintons; our votes will soon anoint Pelosi, Schumer and the noble hoary brow of Robert Byrd - all because of you.

You should be proud to associate with men and women of such caliber.
I'm so proud to associate with you.
Thank you for your brilliance; we of Lilliputian IQ can ask little more than to bask in your effulgence.
Bill Heuisler

Jason KEuter - 4/5/2006

You might want to look at the book before you write. Mao's behavior towards Korea and Vietnam is well documented as are his stated reasons for that behavior. You might take Chang with a grain of salt, but you can't really ignore the multiple sources upon which she presents this particular part of history. The evidence is solidly corroborated.

Mao's "intention" was acted upon, and he did send untold numbers of Chinese to their death in Korea, despite growing ambivalence from Russia on the matter and North Korea's actual desire to stop the fighting. In both Korea and Vietnam, Mao's STATED (and documented!) wish was to wear the Americans down in order to make easier communist world domination (his rhetoric not mine). In other words, get them fighting the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mao's view of the Chinese as cannon-fodder is ideologically consistent with his overall doctrine of using China's "manpower" advantages in order to leap forward in the economy and in world power.

Chang's book is sure to elicit controversy, relying as it does on internal historical documentation that was not directed towards western audiences - in particular, ones easily taken in by theoretical discussions of "adapting" Marxism to differing circumstances than Marx had in mind for the development of communism - but were internal to the communist state.

Jonathan Dresner - 4/5/2006

Anything in Chang's Mao which deals with Mao's intentions or plans should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Chang's got a bad habit of guessing about these things.

Jason KEuter - 4/5/2006

A very good question. Look at Jung Chang's MAO, in which she discusses his attempts to curry favor and weapons from the Soviets by wearing the US down - first in Korea and then in Vietnam. I sometimes think the answer to the question "who will win in Iraq?" is simple : IRAN.

Bill Heuisler - 4/4/2006

Mr. Clarke,
Sources are the essence aren't they?
Without them we can only guess and ask others to accept our words.

Your sources in the old Soviet Union must be well-connected and generous to have given you their military budget numbers for two decades of aid to Ho, Giap and the boys. Thanks for the assurances. You wouldn't happen to have exact numbers for 1973 would you? Please look them up.

In return I'll let you in on a little secret: The US funded the Mujahadeen in Afganistan, not OBL. Look up the time-line and don't bother thanking me.
Bill Heuisler

Jonathan Dresner - 4/4/2006

Kirstein is worthy of HNN? Klinghoffer's article is a failure? Editors should be disinterested.

As I've noted elsewhere, I'm not the Editor, but one of several assistant editors, a volunteer who works mostly on copyediting and comment monitoring. I disagree that editors should be "disinterested"; I think HNN does a pretty good job of putting up representative pieces from several sides of the debates; while "balance" is never going to be satisfactory to partisans, it's worthwhile as one guiding principle in editorial selection.

Bill Heuisler - 4/4/2006

Mr. Dresner,
I apologize for my absence during your unmistakable struggles. In the future you'll have my constant devotion. Just ask whenever you need my opinion about anything.

Persistance in shallow attacks on Ms. Klinghoffer's article, demands a more detailed response.

First: the analogy is Amir Taheri's.
The image is an unforgettable photo with worldwide currancy and with a desperate message of sad futility. The image is usually measured by the Left with preachy satisfaction, and by the Right with wistful anger. Taheri's take is useful for Iraq and Klinghoffer's article explains with specific similarities and results.

Second: the causality is historic, easily accessible and pretty obvious in furtherance of the thesis that US departures after real or implied promises have made situations worse in SE Asia, Lebanon and Somalia.

Third: The fourth rule is too subjective. Presumptively open to skepticism is an obvious condition of argument. What's your point?

Last: Kirstein presents no thesis, similarities nor causalities. He presents no similarities of results except his ideological predicates.
You disagree with his conclusion?
His first statement is a preordained conclusion and the one-note screed is supported by fevered opinion only.
What exactly do you disagree with?

Kirstein is worthy of HNN? Klinghoffer's article is a failure? Editors should be disinterested.

But that's just a sorely missed opinion.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 4/4/2006

Good question. Misstates options.

When you ask about "remaining in Vietnam" you fail to note we were not remaining, but supporting the SVN Army with money, strategic air and intel. - not troops.

US finances supported the South successfully against the first NVA offensive. Prospects were good until a Democrat Congress failed to comply with our treaty obligations and cut off all financial support to SVN.

Better Question: Was the Cold War prolonged when USSR was relieved of the financial burden of supporting the NVA war effort?

In Vietnam the departure of the last dollar was far more crucial than the overfull slick leaving the embassy.

Oscar Chamberlain - 4/4/2006

Ms. Klinghoffer makes the following interesting statement: "Future American presidents may figure out a different way to fight and win the war on terror just as they figured out a different way to fight and win the Cold War."

Now for my question. Is it possible that remaining in Vietnam would have actually prolonged the Cold War, by further weakening the United States, by inhibiting its ability to respond in other theaters, and by inhibiting the search for what she calls "a different way to fight and win?"

If so, then was the departure of the last helicopter an essential part of that victory?

Jonathan Dresner - 4/4/2006

Mr. Heuisler: Oh, I so missed your concern for my standards.... not really, actually: it's still tiresome.

To say that Klinghoffer's thesis is "obvious" is precisely my point: it's a terribly shallow analysis with a foregone conclusion.

I humbly apologize for the misuse of "trope"; I only hope that my literary friends don't notice.... Oh, the Shame! Seriously, while the helicopter image is cute, parallelism is not the same thing as analysis.

Technically, my point is really the second and fourth rules of historical analogies, but I never entirely agreed with Tim's first point. I figured a long-time HNN reader like yourself would have come across these before. Pomposity has never bothered me: inaccuracy and fallacy, however, do.

And finally, regarding Kirstein: I disagree with his conclusion and some of his specific points, but his historical parallel is reasonably clear and his sources for his main points are reasonably credible and mainstream. You don't approve of him or his premises; that's your problem, not mine.

Jason KEuter - 4/4/2006

All of the disasters mentioned in this article will reinforce the views of the war critics - namely, that the US can only do harm, which is why they are against American indifference to the plight of the suffering; then against American intervention to attempt to alleviate that plight; then against American occcupation to keep a lid on things so the plight doesn't return; and then the first to point to the disasters following the withdrawal they clamored for and say "look what America did".

Everything Klingohffer said is well taken; problem is, those arguing for the withdrawal don't care about other people's suffering; they prefer the status quo of tyranny they can wash their hands of - although they are the first to say that whatever tyrannies there are in the world wouldn't be that way if it weren't for AMerican foreign policy. The primary concern is their blind, ideological loathing of the United States. They welcome bad tidings. They see America as a nightmare and find vindication when bad things occur because of its actions. Lacking a direct link between those bad things and American actions, they're always happy to make one up. They repress all of the horrors taking place outside any AMerican sphere of influence because they believe drawing attention to those horrors might invite American intervention to do something about it, and they beleive that American intervention will lead to the growth of AMerican power and influence, which is the greatest evil they can imagine. When invited to compare the US to say the hell hole of North Korea, they will grudgingly acknowledge that North Korea might be worse, but still insist that all that is good about America will vanish once its has achieved its camouflaged goal of world domination. They are thus agents of repression of information, believing as they do that "thinking globally" is too dangerous as long as there is a corporate dominated (i.e. capitalist, i.e. bourgeois) "democracy" afoot, ready to manipulate the as yet unknowing American masses into doing something about actual Imperialists who are actually committing the very evil acts they accuse the US of doing; and they don't even obther to pretend otherwise.

If Klinghoffer is directing her argument to the undecided, more power to her. If she's directing her argument to the most adament proponents of withdrawal, then she needs to take into account that they are the west's fifth column fighting for the perpetuation of tyranny and oppression and convincing them that they are wrong is futile. It used to be that you could promise them a communist utopia to get them to go along with you (World War II); none believe in Marxist "creative destruction" anymore; now they only believe in destruction.

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/4/2006

Somehow that good old boy, sneering analysis of America taking over the French role in South Vietnam manages to go on and on without a mention of SEATO! How can that be?
SEATO was pretty straight forward--the prevention of the spread of communism in Southeast Asia--that purpose had some "strategic vitalness" far beyond the "origins" in the French interests.

Andrew D. Todd - 4/4/2006

Here is an old reading note of a relevant book. Reduced to essentials, Ronald Spector's finding is that the United States was involved in Vietnam before there was a South Vietnam, and that the United States simply took over French colonial interests. Under the circumstances, any invitation would have come, perforce, from Paris rather than Saigon.
Ronald H. Spector, Advice and support: The Early Years 1941-60, vol 1 of United States Army in Vietnam, Center of Military History, U.S. Army : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., Washington, D.C., 1983


[NB, this does not seem to be available on-line]

This is a conventional narrative history of the early American involvement in Vietnam.

At first, American interest in Vietnam was purely in terms of other places. During the Second World War, there was no inherent interest in Indochina, but the United States needed contacts on the ground who could set up an escape organization for downed pilots, provide intelligence, and so on. As it turned out, that meant having to deal with the Viet Minh. Later, Chinese troops were sent to occupy Tonkin, mostly as a means of getting the warlord who commanded them out of the way. Arriving, this warlord cheerfully settled down to pick the place to the bone, and American policy was based on keeping him happy and getting him to move on again to where the United States had a use for him. Finally, when the French resumed control, American policy was based on the need to maintain France as a viable member of NATO. It was hoped that the French could be induced to see the pointlessness of continuing in Vietnam, but if they could not, they would have to be supported, so as not to be too badly damaged thereby.

Still, this did not make for a happy relationship. And friction mounted, since the Americans felt that the fact of their providing materiel support entitled them to a say in how it was used. One recurrent point of strain was the actual expenditure of materiel. The Americans felt that the French wasted it. Apart from the simple accumulation of stores in the wrong places, it was alleged that the French made incompetent mechanics, especially with respect to aircraft, and that this contributed to the wastage. Spector's bias is towards the American officialdom, so we do not really get a satisfactory statement of the French views on the subject. That is, Spector does not, by and by large, address the question of whether the French actually were mistreating machinery. This is a point that should be gone into. Without any hard evidence to back it up, I suspect that it was merely another instance of the traditional peacetime army / wartime army conflict. Peacetime armies accumulate stockpiles of materiel, which wartime armies then consume. If there is any major hindrance to communication, they are likely to stereotype each other as reckless wastrels and pettifogging niggards, respectively. Similarly, in the case where the French army, on its departure from Vietnam, helped itself to whatever it wanted
of the equipment the United States had provided, well the French expected to need it in Algeria, and combat troops rarely have much compunction about robbing garrison troops of equipment.

Another, and more fundamental friction was over autonomy for Vietnam. The French system in Vietnam was premised on limitations to the roles that Vietnamese in general, and the Vietnamese government in particular could play. These restrictions created roles for Frenchmen, which constituted the justification for France being in Indochina. As a result, the French were intensely unenthusiastic about any sort of devolution of power, about the raising of an indigenous military, or about industrialization. Any act of modernization, of the sort required to permit Vietnam to defend itself out of its own resources would undermine the position of French interests in Vietnam. So the French tried to carry on without reform for as long as possible, then, when they came to the conclusion that the situation, as it stood, was untenable, they simply pulled out. For them, there was no middle ground that made sense.

The American advisory command rapidly became enthusiastic about Diem. One feels that this had a lot to do with the lack of an alternative. Diem was the only game in town, so they had to make the best of him. Apparently, there was never any really explicit thinking through of the rationale for intervening, but the sheer momentum of supporting the French may have had something to do with it. The Pentagon was generally unenthusiastic, as were the lower reaches of the State Department. The major locus of enthusiasm seems to have been political officials, such as the Dulles brothers.

Spector contends that the idea of the strategic vitalness of Vietnam was French in origin, and, in essence, intended to secure American commitment, but one could do with a more explicit development of the process by which it became implanted in the minds of American officialdom.

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/3/2006

Lorraine, don't hate yourself for stating the obvious--you didn't!
Don't know how you Aussies define "undue/unwanted interference" but protecting the Homeland and honoring treaties cannot be part of the definition!!!

Bill Heuisler - 4/3/2006

Mr. Dresner,
Failings? The cheap shots and misuse of language are beneath you and, worse, are sorely inaccurate. This is particularly galling when you fail to criticize another article next store that's an ideological rant and a historical perversion.

Ms. Klinghoffer's article is replete with parallels - accurate ones. Her point is plain and her thesis is obvious. Do you disagree with her?
Say so instead of carping.

FYI, Trope is a play on words or the use of a word or expression that's not its normal usage. Please show me Klinghoffer's trope. And finally,
"first rule of historical analogies"?
What a pompously obtuse thing to say and particularly when you don't bother to comment on Peter Kirstein.

Did you read Kirstein's sandwich? Between saying the war is "morally wrong" and an "immoral waste of American lives the only parallel is his insistance that he is right and his insistance that the US is wrong. He fills the thing with comments on how everyone has been wrong but him.

Blah blah. We've heard it all before from Kirstein and yet he gets a pass?
No failings with him? Nonsense.
Bill Heuisler

Jonathan Dresner - 4/3/2006

While I sympathize with Mr. Clarke's frustration, I would point out that my position is Assistant Editor, and that entails no authority with regard to article selection or blogger lineup. My mandate is try to minimize typographical and coding errors, with a little comment policing on the side.

I have been known to try to address logical and factual issues pre-publication (though this article went up very quickly and I didn't have a chance to read it before it was public), and I've made a few recommendations of good articles for Roundup and front page selection (and HNN is always happy to get recommendations from outsiders, as well).

I do what I can.

Edwin Moise - 4/3/2006

Dr. Klinghoffer writes that after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, South Vietnam "effectively emerged as a colony of North Vietnam." I would have difficulty imagining a definition of "colony" that could justify this statement.

After the end of the Vietnam War, North and South Vietnam were united. The prime minister of the government of united Vietnam was Pham Van Dong, born in South Vietnam. The head of the Communist Party was Le Duan, born in South Vietnam. Other southerners were also at the highest levels of the party and government structures.

There are a lot of people who claim that the people running Vietnam after the war were all North Vietnamese. But the only way to create a rational foundation for this claim is to argue that Communism in Vietnam was an essentially North Vietnamese phenomenon, and that therefore any South Vietnamese who rose to a high position in the Communist Party should be considered to have become a North Vietnamese. I reject that reasoning.

When I visited Vietnam in 1986, about a decade after the end of the Vietnam War, it was quite conspicuous that the South was richer and technologically more advanced than the North. The Communist rulers of the country had clearly made a deliberate decision *not* to equalize levels of wealth by transferring resources from South to North.

I can see nothing like colonialism in either the political or the economic situations.

Edwin Moise

david little - 4/3/2006


You mean "undue interference" like what happened in WW2? Maybe the war with Spain was an "undue influence"? Or maybe it's just the ones that are in *LIVING* memory that are problems?

I suggest you extend your time horizon some.

Lorraine Paul - 4/3/2006

Charles, I hate to state the obvious but....all of these withdrawals have resulted from undue/unwanted interference by the US in the first place!

Jonathan Dresner - 4/3/2006

First of all, Klinghoffer's a "she". That's not a failing, it just explains why I'm commenting here instead of elsewhere.

Second, it's neither the last helicopter nor the first: Klinghoffer has violated the first rule of historical analogies in this piece, which is to find parallels. What she's found is more of a "trope".

She finally gets around to something like a thesis at the end, but fails to think it through. Its true that the US puts more effort into "vital allies" than those it abandons, but those it abandoned were considered important enough to intervene in (massively, in the case of Vietnam) and somehow made the transition from "vital" to "more trouble than they're worth": that's the process that needs to be examined.

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/3/2006

With some justification--Japan, Germany, South Korea, Bosnia, Phillipines, etc. Overlooking the past a bit aren't we, or does your history start in Vietnam and end in Somalia?

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/3/2006

Nah, let's leave when the job is done and there is stability in Iraq and Afganistan--you know Patrick, like we have in the past.

steve laudig - 4/3/2006

This author has the causation backwards. It's not the last helicopter getting out but the first one going in causes the harm. He seems to think the U.S. is a special occupier rather than just one of many.

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/2/2006

It is a good thing to read this history of incomplete missions--I hope all those that seek the immediate or premature withdrawl of American troops from Iraq and Afganistan are paying attention even if it is so hard for them to get past the "I hate Bush so much I don't care what happens to the Iraqis and Afganistanis--I want the man to fail" attitude that seems to motivate so much of the rhetoric.
It will indeed be interesting, as the new Iraqi government struggles and the American casualties continue to decrease, how these adventures play out in the next Presidential Election.
Course with the new Democrat "We are Meaner and Smarter" babble, who knows, we may have Al Gore back in camo, running as the new Rambo!